Let the transactioning begin.
Potential Free Agents
Several players got a jump on free agency by filing their papers today, including Adrian Beltre, Magglio Ordonez, and Carlos Beltran. Beltran will be big time for whoever manages to land him (Houston's still a possibility, but I'm thinkin' it won't happen), but Mags and Beltre have some question marks.
There's no doubting Ordonez's ability--he's established a pretty damn good track record--but his health is another thing entirely. He played just 52 games in 2004 thanks to a knee problem that has required multiple surgeries. Even if he is healthy by spring training, will he be the Magglio of old? If not, I feel sorry for his new club, as they'll be considerably overpaying him.
Beltre's 2004 stands as the outlier in his young career. If you're going after this guy, you had better be confident that he's got more .334/.388/.629 years in him (2004), and not .274/.332/.463 years (his career averages). The fact that Beltre had such a huge year at age 25 is promising, although it may simply be that he's one of those guys who peak early in their careers. I tend to think that he won't be worth his next contract, but he could easily prove me wrong. If he puts up great numbers again in 2005, his career outlook is much brighter.
I'll be interested to see if Cubs pitcher Matt Clement ends up elsewhere. Buried by the rest of the Cubs staff and burdened with an unluckly W-L record, Clement tends to be unappreciated by Cubs fans. If he goes unappreciated in the FA market, someone's gonna get a huge bargain.